411 Tasting Notes
When I was growing up, my father loved cheesecake-flavored ice cream. Specifically blueberry cheesecake ice cream. So this aroma makes me nostalgic. And drool. Because oh my goodness! This tea smells amazing! Creamy, cheesy, and fruity. I almost want to nibble on the tea leaves it smells so amazing. And there are GIANT blueberries included in the leaf. It’s beautiful!
Brewing it, it turns into a very light yellow brew, with a light, beautiful aroma. It’s the same blueberry-cheesecake-y goodness as the leaf, albeit a lot more delicate and light. Unsweetened, I got a lot of the bright, berry flavor. Sweetened, it was lovely. To me, the green tea flavor is, not particular strong or stand-out, but the blueberry, and a cakey/cheesy flavor are there, and they’re lovely. It was a lot lighter and more delicate taste than one might anticipate from the aroma of the leaf. But it’s very very yummy. And I got a second brew out of it, which is surprising for a flavored tea.
Lovely tea. I think I’ll be seeking this out again.
One of the things I’ve been noticing over the years, as I’ve ordered tea from various merchants, is that common parameters aren’t always common.
Almost every tea will have directions on the back of the packet, telling you how to brew a cup of tea. Too bad they can’t agree on the definition of the word ‘cup’. A standard English definition of the word cup could lead you to believe that it would be a measurement somewhere around 8 oz. But apparently this doesn’t count in the tea world. The general rule of thumb is 2-3 grams of tea per cup. But if you don’t have the same definition of cup, that could result in some very strange brewing parameters.
Lupicia has one of the smallest definitions of a cup I’ve ever seen. They define a cup as 5 oz., and still call for 3 grams of tea per these 5 oz. I’d be afraid of oversteeping with something like this but this cup? This was an amazing cup of tea.
The product description says “Sweet nostalgic aroma of caramel and almonds. Delicious straight or with milk.” This tea leaf smells sweet. And brewed up, it’s a beautiful medium brown and smells lovely, although much less sweet. Drinking the tea straight up, it has hints of caramel and almond flavors; a nice light cup. However, I like to add splenda or honey to my black teas. And if you sweeten this? Wow, it’s amazing. Mellow, smooth caramel flavors. Rich, creamy, and sweet with an almond finish. I also tried this tea with milk, and while nice, I didn’t find that it added as much as the sweetener did.
I strongly recommend that those who like a little sweetness with their tea give this a try. It’s a lovely yummy cup of goodness.
The way I’ve learned to make chai is a stove top method. Rather than just simply brewing like tea, you do the following:
For each 2 cups of chai tea:
Take 1 cup water, bring to a boil on the stove in a small saucepan. Once the water comes to a boil, add 1 tbsp. chai tea, and 1 tbsp. sugar. Return to a boil, and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add one cup milk (the more milk-fat, the more flavorful). Let rest on the stove for at least 10 minutes, and then strain, and drink.
This method of preparation takes most chai mixes and makes them amazingly flavorful. I know it’s sacrilege to boil tea, but the spices in chai cover any over-steeped flavor, and it ensures you get the most out of the spices.
So, wanting to get the most out of this chocolate chai (because really, what could be better? Chocolate and chai spice? YUM), I prepared it in the stovetop method. It surprised me. It was a very mellow cup. Like a mildly spiced chocolate milk. The chocolate flavor is at the forefront, and there’s a taste of generic spices as an aftertaste. None of the particular spices stand out, but there’s the sensation of clove, and a tiny burn from possibly a little pepper.
So, it’s very yummy, but a little less spicy than I was hoping. If it wasn’t caffeinated, I could see drinking this at night as a soother.
I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the stovetop method somehow skewing the flavor of this tea. So I brewed it like a regular cup of tea as well. And no, it does MUCH better brewed stove top method.
Prepare for something lovely. It’s a great cuppa. Just don’t expect a lot of spice, and revel in the chocolate.
I think that one of the best things that ever happened to Earl Grey tea was meeting the vanilla bean. It must have been movie magic. I can see it now…
INT: A Parisian Salon.
Various teas and flavorings lounge about, chatting, discussing worldly matters and current gossip. VANILLA sits in the corner, alone, draped across a chaise longue. She is long, lean and highly sweetly scented.
The camera pans to the door where EARL GREY, a dark, swarthy yet citrus scented tea enters. He scans the room until his eyes fall on VANILLA. He beelines to her, drops to one knee, grabs her hand, and looks deeply into her eyes while kissing her hand.
EARL GREY (huskily): ‘Allo. I find myself inexplicibly drawn to you. I feel we could make amazing brews together.
….and scene. Only problem is that just like movie magic, there are frequent copycats that just don’t have the verve and je ne sais qua of the original. I’ve had varied luck with the different Earl Grey de la Cremes out there on the market.
Luckily, Distinctly Tea has got a pretty good version of this classic couple. The black tea base of ceylon and assam is sturdy and the flavoring agents blend beautifuly. The vanilla is creamy, and the bergamot avoids the trap of tasting like perfume. Highly scented, highly flavorful. Lovely tea. I reccomend it.